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America's New War: Bush Urges Americans to Get on With Lives

Aired September 17, 2001 - 03:37   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Attorney General John Ashcroft says terror attacks have exposed a need for stronger surveillance laws in the United States. And that has some civil liberty activists concerned.

CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena has more on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Attorney General aggressively hit the airwaves. His message: The FBI needs increased authority to protect the nation against terrorism.

JOHN ASHCROFT, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: We need to upgrade and strengthen our ability to take action. And we're going to make that the focus of our endeavor.

ARENA: The administration is planning to present a comprehensive package of proposals which would include, among other things, expanded wiretap authority, tightening up money laundering laws, and beefing up immigration policy.

GEORGE BUSH, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We're a nation of law, a nation of civil right. We're also a nation under attack.

ARENA: Ashcroft telling congressional leaders in private meetings at FBI headquarters there is evidence terrorists involved in Tuesday's attacks are still in the United States, making the need for reform even more urgent.

Lawmakers say they're open to change, but not at the expense of civil liberties.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: We'll do it within our framework, our framework of laws, and our Constitution. If we don't do it within our Constitution and our laws, then in some ways, they win.

ARENA: The Senate has already added some changes to wiretap law in a spending bill, prompting an angry response from the ACLU.

It said, "At its very first opportunity, the Senate passed legislation that threatens privacy rights without receiving any public showing that it would make us any safer." (on camera): Security adjustments will not be limited to prohibiting terrorists' activity, but are expected to change the lives of ordinary citizens as well. In pursuit of the few, the challenge lies in balancing the needs of the many.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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